MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

February 27, 2014

Condemned pair sue to learn about execution drugs

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two Oklahoma death row inmates scheduled to be executed next month sued state corrections officials Wednesday for details about the drugs that will be used to execute them, including their source.

Under state law, no one may disclose who provides the three drugs that Oklahoma uses in executions. Lawyers for Charles Warner and Clayton Lockett fear the men could suffer severe pain if the state is allowed to maintain a “veil of secrecy.”

“Plaintiffs have no means to determine the purity of the drug which may be used to execute them, and whether that drug is contaminated with either particulate foreign matter or a microbial biohazard that could lead to a severe allergic reaction upon injection,” the lawyers wrote in their state court lawsuit.

Lockett is scheduled to be executed March 20 for the 1999 shooting death of a 19-year-old Perry woman. Warner is set to be executed March 27 for the 1997 death of his girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter. The men seek a restraining order that would halt their executions. A hearing on that is scheduled for Tuesday before District Judge Patricia Parrish in Oklahoma City; clemency hearings set for this week and next week remained on the Parole and Pardon Board’s schedule Wednesday.

Oklahoma shields its drug suppliers’ identities to protect them from potential reprisal, Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie said Wednesday. He said the agency was aware of the inmates’ lawsuit but declined to comment. Diane Clay, the director of communications for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, said the office had received the petition and is reviewing it.

“We can confirm that Oklahoma is in compliance with the law,” Clay said.

Oklahoma and other states that have the death penalty have been scrambling for substitute drugs for lethal injections after major drugmakers — many based in Europe, which has longtime opposition to the death penalty — stopped selling to prisons and corrections departments.

Under previous protocol, inmates continuously received a sedative while paralytic drugs actually killed them. As supplies dried up, Oklahoma dropped its requirement that inmates receive a sedative continuously and began to shield what it would use.

“Thus, at the same time that defendants are turning to untested and untried execution methods, they are also shielding information about the execution methods from meaningful disclosure or scrutiny,” the lawyers wrote.

The lawyers for the inmates do not challenge the men’s guilt or the use of lethal injection, just the state’s policy of not disclosing how it intends to kill the two.

“If you don’t know what they’re using there’s no way to know if it is cruel and unusual punishment,” Susanna M. Gattoni, one of the lawyers for Lockett and Warner, said in a telephone interview.

They suggest that a Tulsa compounding pharmacy challenged by lawyers for a Missouri death row inmate who was executed Wednesday may have supplied Oklahoma’s lethal drugs.

They also say a veterinary medicine supplier may have provided the pentobarbital; the drug is also used to euthanize animals.

1
Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks